In Brief

Van Gaal wants a 'horny' Man Utd but the fans want sexy football

Manager calls for more passion from his side as they try to avoid Europa League humiliation against Denmark's Midtjylland

Manchester United could hardly be accused of playing "sexy" football this season, but manager Louis van Gaal has urged his players to be "horny" ahead of their must-win Europa League clash with FC Midtjylland.

Van Gaal made the unexpected revelation when asked about his side's commitment to the cause, saying United "need desire, hunger and a lot of times I use the word 'horny' to my players".

He was "seemingly searching for the Dutch translation of passion", says The Independent, but the Daily Mail notes he only succeeded in generating "widespread amusement at Wednesday's press conference, not least from Juan Mata, sitting to Van Gaal's right".

After the sniggers had died down, it became clear the "bizarre battle cry was designed to demonstrate the hunger and passion with which he wants United to pursue a place in the last 16 of the Europa League", adds the Mail.

It is a critical game "that may decide whether he remains as manager", says The Times. Yet Van Gaal refused to cast United as favourites, instead pointing out how well the Danish minnows had played in the first leg and insisting that they "have a lot of qualities".

His analysis "must have been hard to stomach for United fans", adds the paper: "Here was the manager of the self-styled biggest club in the world warning that Midtjylland, a club formed in 1999, could prove a tough nut to crack."

A "horny" performance is badly needed by United, says Goal.com. "Some sexy football wouldn't go amiss on Thursday as United aim to please the supporters who bother to attend... Rarely has there been such a lack of interest and enthusiasm around a home fixture in recent times.

"A defeat would be almost unthinkable, and would represent perhaps the lowest point in United's European history. Progression is imperative, but is not the only requirement for supporters who demand good football to help them through the hard times."

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